Gift certificates are a very common item sold at a charity auction. Businesses who donate them see the benefit of marketing their company and get customers in the door. There are many ways to sell the certificates at your charity auction and it is very possible to sell them for more than the face value of the certificate.
When gift certificates are placed into the silent auction, they tend to be sold at or below face value. Many guests look for "deals" in the silent auction items. If they see a certificate going below value they will bid at least until it reaches the actual value. It has such a definite value that is just makes sense. Many gift certificates sell for 60-70% of their actual value. Sometimes even in the live auction, it can be difficult to exceed the face value.
So, how can you get the most out of those gift certificates? Here are some ideas to get you started.
You may try putting similar certificates together. For example, if you have several gift cards for gasoline, sell them together as one item. It will be easier to get at least face value if there is only one item of that type to bid on. Or, if you have more than one certificate for the same business, try selling the first one for at least face value and then asking the winning bidder if they would like the rest for the same amount each. A group of restaurant gift cards can be grouped together and labeled.
There are also packages that can be created with several different types of gift certificates. A "Night on the Town" package may include a movie, dinner, and ice cream certificate. A "Pamper Yourself" package may include a hair cut, nail salon, and massage. There are so many different creative ways to package these. Bidders may be less interested in one of the certificates in the package but when they are sold together, they will still want the whole package.
Professional benefit auctioneers have many fun ways to sell gift certificates. Be sure to ask your auctioneer what he recommends.